The Expanse by J.A Corey to be picked up by Syfy


Television

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recently announced!

Personally I'm excited, though of course a little nervous, too. This has been a great series of books to follow so far (unlike many, I loved the 3rd book as well as I did the second and first), and it's not like syfy are known for their high quality, well budgeted TV show. Also, given how character driven the books are, any choice of lesser actor for any of the major roles could ruin the whole thing.

Personally, I'm really hoping for Joel McHale (Jeff from Community) to star as Holden, and for William Fichtner (detective Mahone from Prison Break) to be Miller. I also want Morgan Freeman to be Fred, but I guess that's asking for too much, isn't it? :(

On a more upbeat note, I'm excited about the choice of writers for the show - Ostby and Fergus are kind of hit or miss, I feel, but when they hit you get Ironman - so at least I know the potential is high.

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Bumped!

The first casting for the show is revealed - Thomas Jane is to star as detective Miller.

I never heard of the bloke before, so all I can comment on is that physically he does not at all resemble my mental image of Miller... he's a bit too young, for starters.

I really wanted Fichtner for this role, but hey, maybe this Jane person can be good too. Personally I'm just excited to have any news at all about the project.


Never heard of this series before, but sounds interesting.

Never heard of that actor either.

How old is Miller supposed to be? This guy's 45, so he's not all THAT young.

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Rynjin wrote:

Never heard of this series before, but sounds interesting.

Never heard of that actor either.

How old is Miller supposed to be? This guy's 45, so he's not all THAT young.

If you never heard of the series, I really recommend that you read it. It's an intelligent, fast paced, character focused, near future space opera. Book 4 has been out for a couple of weeks now and is getting mostly enthusiastic reviews (like the three that came before it). Authors Daniel Abraham and Ty frank have been doing a book per year (plus many shorter stories in the setting) like clockwork for the last half decade.

As for Miller... he's not very old, but he should feel old. The guy's a wreck. I don't really get that vibe from this Thomas Jane, but then again a solid performance and some good make up could take care of that.


I like Thomas Jane, and based on some of his other stuff I think he can pull off what you want Snow.


Miller is 48 and Thomas Jane is 45, so it does work out. A lot of the publicity pictures the websites are using are from when he was in PUNISHER, which was over a decade ago, or HUNG, which was half a decade ago. He looks suitably more grizzled now.

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Werthead wrote:
Miller is 48 and Thomas Jane is 45, so it does work out. A lot of the publicity pictures the websites are using are from when he was in PUNISHER, which was over a decade ago, or HUNG, which was half a decade ago. He looks suitably more grizzled now.

That explains a lot.

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Barrage of news!

This is from Daniel Abraham's website (he is the better known half of the duo that writes the book series):

Spoiler:

Daniel Abraham wrote:


Sometimes you start something really big and complicated – like entering a whole new kind of business for instance – and you really really hope that things are going to go well? Yeah, so about that . . .

A few months ago, it was announced that SyFy, Sean Daniel Company, and Alcon Entertainment had made a deal to make The Expanse into a TV show. Ten episodes, straight to series (which means we wouldn’t be making a pilot episode and then hoping that it got picked up – the deal was to just march straight ahead), with the two of us attached as producers which we figured meant doing pretty much anything we could to help support Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby, who wrote the script for the first episode and agreed to spearhead the show. We came out to Los Angeles in . . . Jeez April, I think? We settled in to work, promising news as soon as we had it.

And then we went dark. It turns out releasing news about this kind of thing has an etiquette all its own. Even now, there are a bunch of things we know that we don’t get to tell you. But there is now some stuff to share.
First off, casting. This isn’t an easy project to cast. We were hoping to get as many folks to come play who both grokked genre and also knew how to do first-rate mainstream work. With that in mind, the role of Detective Miller is going to be played by Thomas Jane. Who, if you don’t know him, was designed in a government lab for the role. Seriously. He’d done The Punisher and Scott Pilgrim Vs The World and Stephen King’s The Mist and Dreamcatcher. The man knows his genre chops. And he’s also been in Boogie Nights and Magnolia and The Thin Red Line. And Hung, where he got the three Golden Globe nominations. He can play tough, he can play vulnerable, and most of all he can play someone who’s well-bruised by the world. There was a while there I was afraid we weren’t going to get him, but ever since we have, I’ve been tracking down clips of his performances and feeling like I just found a Banksy print in my alley. It’s that level of cool.

And then there’s the director. I was unaware coming in of how important the first director is in a new show like this. Turns out, sort of critical, because whatever they do, however they approach the show, it pretty much sets the tone for everyone who comes after. We already had a fair amount of Breaking Bad in our project’s DNA because we were working with Sharon Hall who developed it back when she was at Sony.

So now we have more.

Terry McDonough did several episodes of Breaking Bad, including the one called Better Call Saul which was for my money one of the best hours of one of the best shows in my lifetime. I didn’t know it, but I’d actually seen his work the first time years ago in a show called Wire in the Blood that I still remember. He’s won the BAFTA and Royal Television Society (UK) Awards. When they were talking to him about our show, he was actually in my hometown working with the folks on Better Call Saul. If you’re looking for someone who can take the project and see complex characters in serious conflicts, this is kind of your guy. He’s not one of the people who looks down on SF. He directed Brian Cox in Doctor Who: An Adventure in Time and Space and just got a Hugo nomination for it. He directed Patrick Stewart in The Eleventh Hour. Between his instincts for nuance and humanity and his track record for making character-centered, award-winning television, he’s a brilliant fit.

And then there’s the look of the sets and costumes, which I don’t get to show you. I can say this: we’ve gotten to be involved with a lot of the preliminary design and concept work. This has involved a lot of really cool art and conversations with Richard Taylor and his team at WETA in New Zealand. The folks that did Lord of the Rings. Yeah, them. And the production designer who’s going to take the concept work and carry it through? Seth Reed, who just got an Emmy nomination for Cosmos. And did the art direction on Minority Report and From the Earth to the Moon.

Also, we’ve been spending most of our time in the writer’s room with an amazing group of screenwriters. In addition to Mark and Hawk – who, I would like to say for the record, have some of the best instincts for story I’ve seen anywhere – Naren Shankar has come on board to help out. That might not be a name you know, but he worked as one flavor or another of producer on CSI from 2002 to 2010 while that show was not only one of the best rated but possibly the most visually stylish things on network TV. He’s worked on Star Trek and Farscape and The Outer Limits. And we have other writers who’ve come from shows like Mad Men (seriously, one of our writers has Emmy nominations from Mad Men), and The Killing and Burn Notice.

The adjective people keep using to describe this project is “ambitious.” We’re trying to write something that’s genre but doesn’t rely on a knowledge of genre. We’re trying to film something that’s dark and dramatic and also funny and humane. Something that actually moves the line forward on science fiction television.

You do something like that, you really really hope it’ll go well.

It’s going well.

So, sounds very promising. Also, apparently I do know Thomas Jane, because I watched "The Mist" and loved it. It's all good.


This show does sound very promising. I was disappointed with the last batch of original SyFy shows, but it looks like they are putting a lot of effort into this one.

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Two new castings were announced: Avasarala and Holden!

Can't say I'm too thrilled with either of those. The Holden guy (Strait) I've never heard of, and as for Avasarala... I was kind of hoping to get an actual Indian for the role. At least they took a lady of appropriate age (over 60), and they didn't completely white-wash her or anything like that. I wonder if the character would be Iranian or if they would force poor Aghdashloo to make an Indian accent and wear tons of makeup.

Also, of course, Avasarala didn't make an appearance until book 2, so I wonder how they'd integrate her into the story of season 1. It would force very serious changes in the tone of the story, unless they keep her as a minor character for now and only really bring her to the front in season 2 (this is what I'm hoping for).

The next most problematic character to cast would be Naomi, I think. The books go out of their way to highlight her mixed racial heritage (they need to be unrecognizable). I wonder if they'll just choose a random dark-colored ethnicity and cast her as that. It wouldn't be unforgivable, given the reality of our world.


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Oh man Strait was Warren Peace in Sky High.

I liked that movie.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

Been watching Thomas Jane in movies/shows since he did Deep Blue Sea. He tends to play outliers and/or rough-edged types, so playing Miller's detective sounds workable. Can't speak for the rest of the castings.

Storywise - I have only read Caliban's War, which sounds like they might be using as a starting point from the little info I have seen. How book one would be incorporated or blended into that will be interesting to see.

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Dave Howe, president of Syfy, said that the script for the Expense if the best science fiction script he has seen since Battlestar Galactica.


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I kind of hated BSG so I'm worried now.

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Rynjin wrote:
I kind of hated BSG so I'm worried now.

Huh. Funny thing is, I didn't like it either (tried to start watching it a couple months ago and didn't make it past the first episode). However, I felt like the concept was promising, but the execution (soundtrack, acting, pacing, etc.) was lacking.


At least he didn't say since Sharknado.


I thought the first couple of seasons of BSG were great, but then the series went off the rails and killed whatever goodwill I had for it in the last season


First Trailer. Looking good.

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I like it that they set up some of the political situation but reveal basically nothing from the actual plot - this is the kind of trailer I can get behind. Also, good looking Roci (the ship where most of the characters hang out). That last line was great - I don't think I recognize it from the books.

As an ancedote, I'm pretty sure that in the books, the characters would find the idea of zero gravity sex to be hilarious, but I guess it looks good on camera. Probably means that some of the relative realism about gravity that the books have will play less of a role in the show.


I'm not sure. The TV show looked pretty good in that it depicted the zero-G environments as being actually zero-G, instead of handwaving it. Even BSG and FIREFLY, with their nods to realism in other areas, completely shrugged off gravity as an issue. The last show which really made a thing about it was BABYLON 5, with the non-rotating Earth ships not having any gravity.

SyFy are certainly putting some serious money into this. Apparently it's their most expensive show ever, eclipsing any of the STARGATEs or BSG.


Hm. May give it a watch.


I think "The Expanse" is meant to be their flagship for actually becoming a recognizable science fiction cable station. SyFy management has not been exactly thrilled that other networks have been producing genre shows that have been killing it in the ratings, while they are known for bad original movies and wrestling.


writers of Children of Men, that's promising


MMCJawa wrote:
I think "The Expanse" is meant to be their flagship for actually becoming a recognizable science fiction cable station. SyFy management has not been exactly thrilled that other networks have been producing genre shows that have been killing it in the ratings, while they are known for bad original movies and wrestling.

that's not syfys fault, it's the company that owns them giving them the short end of the financial stick constantly. BSG remains an amazing show, as does warehouse 13, haven, and a number of their other shows that they did in house or mostly in house. Their bad movies are campy as hell, but have dedicated fans- the week the sharknado sequel was being filmed i was late to the second job just about every day. Syfy does good stuff, it's that they do not own themselves that is the problem along with the elitists among fans throwing them under the bus.

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Does this have an airdate? I haven't seen one yet.


Some time this year. Showing a trailer now might mean in just a few months rather than September, which is what I was expecting.


Freehold DM wrote:
that's not syfys fault, it's the company that owns them giving them the short end of the financial stick constantly. BSG remains an amazing show, as does warehouse 13, haven, and a number of their other shows that they did in house or mostly in house. Their bad movies are campy as hell, but have dedicated fans- the week the sharknado sequel was being filmed i was late to the second job just about every day. Syfy does good stuff, it's that they do not own themselves that is the problem along with the elitists among fans throwing them under the bus.

Um...I don't see a difference? The management dictates the programming, so the two are not separate entities.

Anyway, my source for the above statement was this:

Syfy basically admits they screwed up


MMCJawa wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
that's not syfys fault, it's the company that owns them giving them the short end of the financial stick constantly. BSG remains an amazing show, as does warehouse 13, haven, and a number of their other shows that they did in house or mostly in house. Their bad movies are campy as hell, but have dedicated fans- the week the sharknado sequel was being filmed i was late to the second job just about every day. Syfy does good stuff, it's that they do not own themselves that is the problem along with the elitists among fans throwing them under the bus.

Um...I don't see a difference? The management dictates the programming, so the two are not separate entities.

Anyway, my source for the above statement was this:

Syfy basically admits they screwed up

actually, for a while at least, they were separate entities. There was a shakeup between syfy aND their parent company a loooooooong time ago when NBC got heroes and syfy didnt. A lot of stuff happens behind the scenes.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

Not exactly on topic, but I got the impression that Ascension is also part of the foray into more "sci-fi" by the channel. The premise was interesting, but it definitely pulled a BSG in that it left a lot of threads hanging for a transition from mini-series to full, episodic TV series.

I could easily see The Expanse following the same path. And if that article is accurate, that sort mini-series pilots looks to be trend for them in the future.

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Alex Martin wrote:

Not exactly on topic, but I got the impression that Ascension is also part of the foray into more "sci-fi" by the channel. The premise was interesting, but it definitely pulled a BSG in that it left a lot of threads hanging for a transition from mini-series to full, episodic TV series.

I could easily see The Expanse following the same path. And if that article is accurate, that sort mini-series pilots looks to be trend for them in the future.

The Expense was planned from the very beginning as an episodic series. Without going through the process of ordering a pilot first, Syfy was confident enough in the project to buy all 10 episodes of a first season. The series is based on a series of books, currently with 5 books, and the writers of the series are very involved (they were working closely with the scriptwriters and they spend a lot of time on the set, where eye witnesses say they are consulted constantly) so it's safe to assume that the show would not veer to far from the books.

In all likelihood, I'd say you needn't worry about The Expense being similar to Ascension in that regard.


Loved ascension, would like to see more.


I may have to look into this...

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Werthead wrote:
Some time this year. Showing a trailer now might mean in just a few months rather than September, which is what I was expecting.

Well, they've been filming since October so they can't be too far off done, maybe a couple of months. Hopefully we'll have the series before summer.


It depends on the model they are following. One suggestion I saw was that SyFy was treating this series more like a HBO model, where the whole series is written and filmed and the majority of post is done before they launch, allowing for a big marketing campaign and better writing and editing.

This is the most expensive series ever made, so it's certainly possible SyFy are doing something different with it. But yes, they could launch in the summer if they really decided to go for it.


Werthead wrote:

It depends on the model they are following. One suggestion I saw was that SyFy was treating this series more like a HBO model, where the whole series is written and filmed and the majority of post is done before they launch, allowing for a big marketing campaign and better writing and editing.

This is the most expensive series ever made, so it's certainly possible SyFy are doing something different with it. But yes, they could launch in the summer if they really decided to go for it.

Good point re: model.


Correction, the most expensive show ever made by SyFy :) Apparently it has a larger budget than THE WALKING DEAD, but still a fair bit short of GAME OF THRONES.

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Werthead wrote:
Correction, the most expensive show ever made by SyFy :) Apparently it has a larger budget than THE WALKING DEAD, but still a fair bit short of GAME OF THRONES.

Luckily it doesn't need quite as big a budget - such extravaganzas as filming in three different continents, having episode-long epic clashes of armies, expended use of horses and suchlike and customs that just about have to be custom made for the show. Sure, they need big and complex sets, special effects for spaceships and stuff like that. Still, should be much cheaper.

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The Expanse Trailer

Looks like sometime this December.


Behind-the-scenes on THE EXPANSE.

This sells it much better than any of the trailers. Love that shot of New York City.

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Werthead wrote:

Behind-the-scenes on THE EXPANSE.

This sells it much better than any of the trailers. Love that shot of New York City.

Yeah, if anyone remained unconvinced before this should do the trick. The special effects for the spaceships look awesome.

I wonder about Miller though. From what we see he seems much more... upbeat than his book version. Cocky, smiling. It would be interesting to see how much his character changed, especially when so much of the book relied on the theme of Miller and Holden being fundamentally different with neither being exactly right or wrong.


I have been following Io9's Comic Con coverage, where they showed the pilot episode. The people who saw it raved and the general consensus is that it was pretty awesome

Definitely looking forward to this...


You can watch the first episode now via SyFy's Facebook page.

Pretty damn good. The best first episode of a space opera series since BSG ended. Solid script, great acting, a nice shooting style that goes for realism without settling for BSG-style shakey cam and some fantastic effects. I also liked the subtle ways they made it clear that Ceres has lower gravity than Earth or Mars (the bird only having to flap its wings intermittently, the guy falling into the airlock fairly slowly).

The pacing was also good, given how much they had to establish. Overall, a great opening and I'll be watching the rest of the series.


what happened to Mike?


That was a very odd casting decision for someone in it for about 15 seconds. Maybe there'll be flashbacks later on?

The only problem with the early release is now the three week wait for the second episode.

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